This post I wrote a day or so after returning home from Enchanted Forest, after my most challenging production cycle to date. I have much more to say on this, as my life lately has been consumed by this work. But my sleep deprived ramble does a pretty great job of summing up why I am crazy enough to give up job security and all things normal in pursuit of Lucid Enchantment…
My heart aches almost as much as my body. My capabilities and strength have been tested and I’m slowly learning to turn the stress into fuel, not to over-invest or overbook myself, to communicate better and to balance with self care and healthier habits. I am not too sure how I stumbled into this realm, but as I look back on the year that has passed since I shifted my career towards freelance event marketing full time, I am grateful. Uncertain, definitely. Scared, every day. But so fulfilled, astounded, inspired and thankful that I get to work with so many inspiring badasses…
This industry is unstable and my stubborn insistence on truly believing in what I am marketing doesn’t make things any easier. But I get to bring people together for a living. I am barely getting by most months and don’t have investments or savings to show for my hard work, but I have some of the most epic memories and an impressive wristband collection. I have witnessed some amazing shows and experienced the true meaning of community. I have learned SO much about social media, communication, marketing, the music industry, project management, community dynamics, and myself – and yet there is so much more to learn. I have made many many mistakes. I have been challenged in so many ways and I have invested so much emotion and energy and time into this career at only a few years in that I can’t fathom doing anything else, but I also constantly wonder if I’ve truly lost my shit. 🤪
This work is HARD. Every job in event production is hard. It breaks people. It is unsustainable, grueling, chaotic and thankless. And everyone just assumes “you must be raking in the dough since you go to so many festivals.” It is horribly misunderstood. Which is true of every creative field I have worked in but especially in the festival scene. It’s underpaid and often unpaid and yet I continue to sign myself up for this madness. I truly must be insane.
But if I’m crazy, at least I’m surrounded by other weirdos who are creating epic experiences, living their dreams and pulling off some impossibly awesome stuff along the way. The more I festival the less I really party at them. The work is the play for me (plus to market the festival I have to experience it, so lucky me!).
While everyone is buzzing around from stage to stage at night, I often stop in my tracks on my determined walks over the venue grounds and turn around. I stop thinking of what I’m off to do next and I just take it all in. I take a deep breath and I open my eyes to see the amazing visuals on the walls of LED panels and the lasers lighting up the trees and the fog like sky glitter. I hear the crisp perfectly tuned sound flooding my senses and I feel much more than the bass reverberating from that beautiful stack of speakers. The energy of thousands of people celebrating life surrounds me and I literally vibrate. Sometimes it brings tears to my eyes because yes, I am a sap. 😭
There is NOTHING like producer’s high. And though the sleep deprivation and depleted serotonin might be doing most of the talking here, it is in these moments of pausing to take it all in that my heart feels most full and I feel most aligned with my dreams. I may play but a small role in bringing these people together and helping them share their gifts, it may seem really silly to get all sappy and proud that I help throw parties for a living. Especially when most of what I do is very much not a party. But after months of hard work, challenges, learning, herding cats, jumping hurdles, stress, sleepless nights, tears and time, experiencing that moment of pure magic makes it all so worthwhile.
I spun on my heels to face The Grove stage and the beautiful lights and music, I could see the Flow Zone lit up with friends spinning glowing toys, the light show dancing on the trees overhead, and the sounds of laughter mingling with a dope beat in the air, I thought “we did it. Again. Somehow it all magically fell into place… this really IS an enchanted forest…”
Making magic real is exhausting. But I couldn’t think of anything I would rather do or anyone I’d rather do it with.